The evil one.
The subject on Cowtippers today was satan. And by the way, I don’t care if my spell-check don’t like it, I refused to capitalize the “s.”
Here’s part of the conversation. If you want the rest you’ll have to follow the link and visit Cowtippers. If you REALLY want to read what I was responding to and don’t want to go there send me an email and I’ll send you a copy. OK?
There are two posts here. Scroll down for “PART TWO.”
So, here it is:
— In SacredCowTippers@yahoogroups.com, “Rhonda” <bibletruthseeker@…> wrote:
> I saw Deb’s post regarding Satan, I think “Satan” is a great topic
> Sacred Cow Tipping! 🙂 This is because, oh indeed, Satan is
> a “Sacred Cow” for Religion, is he not? Sometimes I’ve wondered just
> how this “god” got so powerful, and how a belief in him along with an
> awesome (albeit not too wholesome) fear of him is right up there in
> the category of belief and (not too wholesome) fear of God that we
> find in most religions.
> So whattaya say we put Satan under some scrutiny and see if we can’t
> tip him over!
When it comes to the question of the enemy it’s a matter of reality, perspective, common sense and its limitations. This is a very ugly subject but one, I suppose, that can’t be escaped.
I will suggest those who refuse to believe in the existence of an evil entity, call it what you will, do so at their own peril. Jesus cast many evil spirits out. Proof enough they exist. He never, ever intimated they left the earth when he ascended.
Believe in Angels? If there are spiritual entities at all there must be all kinds, including evil ones (Evil in the sense that they hate God). The Bible describes many different kinds of heavenly beings. Most of you accept the Bible in a more authoritative way than I do and I believe there is truth in what it says about evil beings.
Christians who deny the existence of the “little red guy” make the same case that skeptics of the paranormal make. The evidence is overwhelming if one will look. Of course it’s anecdotal most of the time but paranormal events are a reality. Just WHAT exists nobody knows, but not knowing or understanding does not in the least imply it does not exist.
When I was in high school I got into a study of the occult. I wanted to be God’s warrior. I read everything I could get my hands on. My youth director warned me to leave it along. I was curious. And stubborn. I was living in a camper next to my parent’s house. One night as I was studying I heard a horrific scream and the trailer shook as if in a huge storm. Frightened, I went outside to find the air calm and the skies clear. It was not a dream. I put my stuff up and quit the study.
I would prefer to believe there is no such thing as evil entities. I can’t. A couple after the above incident I got involved in a really weird event involving a possessed girl and a local nut-ball preacher’s attempt to “cast the devil out.” That night I saw evil, in person, up close. Scared the hell out of me. I saw a young teen girl throw around four large grown men like they were children. I saw her pretty face twisted in an entirely ungodly and horrific way as she lunged at me a foot from my face. The whole thing was stupid and I should not have been part of it but the fact is, I have no doubt that there is at least one of those horrific things here. That was over thirty years ago and I still see it clearly in my head.
It doesn’t matter if anyone believes me. Doesn’t change anything. It does concern me that people dismiss the possibility of evil so easily. What we *want* to be true and what *is* true are two very different things.
I don’t even try to comprehend the reality that exists beyond our ridiculously limited senses. We can’t even understand this planet, the body we live in, nor our corner of the universe. How can we be so deluded to think we can understand the realm God lives within? We don’t even know where Jesus was or what he was doing for thirty years of his life nor the majority of the time he ministered after his baptism. Why? If we believe in God the Creator the only answer possible is that God does not want us to know. Why would he withhold that?
As a parent there are many, many things I do not tell my little children. They wouldn’t understand if I told them. Their mental abilities and egocentric world can’t come close to comprehending it. Kids can’t understand abstract thought. Maybe God doesn’t tell us because we wouldn’t get it. It would just confuse us. Hamlet said it best when he said, “there’s more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.”
You said, “…it makes no sense at all, and certainly doesn’t describe the loving God scripture reveals.”
No, it makes no sense. Neither does many other things the Bible says. In fact, it makes no sense in human terms to love God with all our heart (by faith and without proof) and to love others instead of ourselves. It doesn’t make any sense to believe in Jesus when there’s no historical proof he even existed. THOSE make no human sense. But we do them, by faith and by choice.
Jesus told us that God’s ways are far beyond what we can understand. Try if you want to, you never will understand. Nobody wants to understand more than I do. I know, however, this side of the undiscovered country I never will. A frustrating fact.
You said, “Could it be that satan in the scriptures isn’t at all what we’ve always heard? Could it be that he’s used as another chain of bondage–a scare tactic– to keep people in the religious line?”
It’s not only possible, it is a fact. Like many other doctrines created by religious leaders or dreamed up by screwballs in sheep’s clothing, the idea that the “devil will get us” is a stupid one. It was and is used as a scare tactic, just as a belief in hell is. BUT, just because the Truth is distorted until it’s not truth does not mean there is no Truth. I had those nightmares, too. I don’t have them any longer. I do have difficulty sometimes finding rest for my mind and heart knowing what I know. And I KNOW, I do not guess or take someone’s word. There is a “lake of fire,” too, Jesus said so. It just has a purpose other than what we were taught.
You said, “Of course, the term “satan” IS in the scriptures. But just “what” or “who” is “he”?”
There’s only one apt word that I am convinced fits “who is he?” That word is “enemy.” How, why, what the nature of the battle is, I have no clue. I can guess, but it would only be a guess. There is a war going on, some kind of conflict, “out there.” Not in space but in the spiritual dimension. It’s the only explanation.
In my book I ask this question. What’s the logic in an absolute supreme being “allowing” an evil to exist and distort our world? There are a couple of possibilities. The simplest is that maybe God is not absolute, after all. That’s the height of heretical thought and probably freaks you all out to hear but it IS a possibility.
It does not matter to me. Within the entire fabric of my being I believe in the God of Creation who is absolute love and mercy. I believe in the Truth of loving, the reality of Jesus, the expectation of selflessness. I would continue to follow the God whom I call the Creator even if I discovered he was one of an entire pantheon. I’m just goofy that way, I suppose.
Let’s return, though, to the belief in omnipotence. There’s one thing abundantly clear about God. He believes in law. Natural law is indestructible. In all religions there are laws. Judeo-Christians give have respect for Hebrew law and believe to a certain extent they should follow Hebrew law, such things as the Ten Commandments and etc.. Grace is not a circumvention of law. Neither does it eliminate the law. It is a forgiveness, on an individual basis, of our violation of law. Even the two commandments of Jesus are “laws” in that they represent what God expects us to do. Charles Finney called them the “law of benevolence.” Doesn’t the Bible say that if we do not live under grace we come under the law? Law, then, is of great importance to God.
Humankind, made in the image of God, also believes in law. Laws define us, our country, our world. The real world does not have dotted lines between the U.S. and Canada, law defines the boundaries. Police enforce law. The legal system upholds law. Imperfect as our institutions are they reflect the same legalistic thinking that is described in the Old Testament and in religious texts around the world.
Consider, then, a Creator who places such high value on law would most likely establish laws within all of his Creation. Not only “natural law” to dictate how the physical world exists nor religious law that applies to us but laws within the spiritual realm, too. And if, as we generally accept, that God is a JUST God, one who respects law, then he would operate his Kingdom within the law he established–even if there are times it works against his omnipotence.
What is more important, rule of law or crushing the bad guy? Our legal system has limits on what the police and courts can do. People walk every day even when all concerned know they violated a major law. What if the evil one is doing what he is doing within the confines of eternal or spiritual law?
Of course it is a paradox! Could a perfect God create perfect law that could then be violated? A paradox is merely a puzzle we don’t have all the answers to. Consider the conversations Jesus had with demons. They’d say, “It isn’t time yet,” or “it isn’t lawful for you to cast us out now.” There appears to have been some kind of rules that Jesus chose to break. This implies there ARE rules.
I can’t remember all I wrote in my book but I explored this idea more fully there. Maybe I should re-read the book, I might learn something! ha.
In the end, we’re left with not knowing a whole lot. This is what faith is all about, isn’t it? Believing without knowing? The “devil” may not be biting us in the rear or “stealing our victory” but there are evil entities who, most likely, have a leader whom one could call “satan,” either as a name for their leader or a particular entity. Believing something exists does not in the least require reverence or respect. Believing “in” the existence of something isn’t the same as believing “on” as in placing trust in.
If we leave our house open and our car on the street with the windows down and take a walk down the wrong street in Houston at night and we’ll suffer the consequences. Let our guard down, get sloppy in our service to God, blow off the possibility that there’s more working against us than our own self-will that we can always reel in and we’ll suffer the consequences, too. We’ll loose something precious, our family will suffer, or we’ll wind up in a situation we can’t easily get out of. Of this I’m very sure.
— In SacredCowTippers@yahoogroups.com, “jimmy” <lhm44@…> wrote:
> Rhonda you ask:
> Does It Make any sense at all that God would allow this mighty spirit being
> To deceive our first parents and then all of mankind?
> This is what I see… It was not possible for Satan NOT TO SIN — he was
> created for the express purpose of being God’s Adversary, and so, of course,
> he was a sinner “FROM THE BEGINNING”!
I have to say that “creating” an entity for the purpose of being an enemy makes no sense to me. The only human analogy would be that of computer gamers who put evil characters in their game to give them a challenge. But that would imply God is just playing a game and I can’t accept that. Another human analogy might be drones or even robots (in the future) created to challenge a fighter, to help a warrior gain strength. But if God is omnipotent would he need to strengthen himself? Toy or tool?
I’ve heard people use a similar argument about Judas, that he was “created” to betray Jesus. But that makes no sense either.
Maybe the problem is in the definition of “creation.” When we think of Creation we think of God speaking and something appearing, a la, Genesis 1:1. But really, has anyone ever seen God “create” that way? Many of us don’t even believe Genesis is an actual, literal story. I don’t. It’s an allegory, a simple explanation of events that led to our existence.
My children ask, “where did the trees come from? Why do birds fly? Who made the trees?” I say, “God put them here.” But is that literal or figurative or progressive? It’s not literal, God did not go “bling!” and pop a bird in the sky or squirt a tree out of the ground for our enjoyment. It wasn’t figurative, we do SEE the bird and tree. It WAS *progressive*. God created the earth a long time ago. In the progress of time since then and through natural processes of the earth trees grew on our land and a bird was hatched and later flew in the sky overhead.
So “creation” occurs as a process, not an event. I would suggest that God created heavenly or supernatural entities, beings, whatever, who at some point decided to challenge God or merely break his law. Certainly we’re not so self-centered as to think free will exists only for us. At that point they became lawless, outlaws, just as people in this country progress from good babies to bad kids to bad adults to law-breakers. It’s easy to say that all God creates is “perfect” but the simple, obvious fact is that all of creation is NOT perfect. How things might have been in the beginning we can only speculate. It does not matter. Things are what they are. How they became that way is less important than figuring out how to deal with them now.
I would suggest that IF God made evil entities or even “created evil” to provide an adversary so we can grow strong in our beliefs then he made a mistake! Why? The adversary appears to have the upper hand. Evil abounds here. Whether we blame selfishness (human rebellion alone) or evil influence (satan’s temptation) we cannot escape the fact that SOMEONE in God’s creation wasn’t perfect or it would NOT have rebelled at all. Or, if it is part of a plan it appears to be extremely cruel. Human suffering on this earth knows no bounds. That is not love, not by any human definition nor by 1 Corinthians 13.
Then there’s the question of what “sin” is. We’re taught that “sin” is not keeping rules. Any way you stretch the cloth, “sin” equals “breaking rules.” Like I said before, Grace doesn’t eliminate rules or laws, it circumvents them. The Gospel of Thomas says sin does not exist except when we make something sin. In other words, when we work counter to God’s love and love of others, when we act selfishly, we “sin.” To say that satan was “made to sin” is saying satan was created to work against the absolute benevolence of God deliberately. Sin requires conscious decision. If he was “made to sin” his effort is not conscious. We have no choice but to eat or we’ll die. If God puts something into the nature of a being, a proclivity to be a certain way, we’re without blame. God is ultimately unjust in condemning satan and those that follow satan if satan could not help himself.
Homosexuals use the argument that they have a natural predilection to be what they are. It’s in their DNA, they say. They say those that condemn their lifestyle are blaming them for something they can’t help. It’s the same argument. Raging enmity exists between fundamentalists and homosexuals over this point. Where do you stand in this arena? One cannot condemn “sin” if what you are calling “sin” is something someone can’t help doing because they’re created that way.
Ya can’t have it both ways. If satan is “made to sin” then we should have compassion on him because “he can’t help it.” I had a pastor once preach a sermon in tears and literally beg God to forgive Judas because he thought it was entirely unfair that God “used Judas” to betray Jesus in order to fulfill scripture. Did he? Was Judas sinning or was he a pawn?
I have to believe for the sake of my sanity that all that has happened since Creation is the result of processes playing themselves out, not some kind of warped plan of a pixie God. We’re all part of the process. God intervenes, God loves us as a species–Jesus being the ultimate proof of that. BUT STILL, it’s all a process. Other beings existed before humankind came into existence. One of them, maybe named satan, rebelled. A conflict started. It spilled over onto this planet. That conflict still rages. We’re still caught in the middle but now, thanks to something Jesus accomplished, we’re no longer in enemy territory.
In the time of Jesus there were men of integrity and men without integrity. Jesus called them all. He knowingly called a man whose selfishness was likely to overwhelm his selflessness. That man was named Judas. God didn’t “make him” do bad, it was in his personal nature. Had he not relented to his lousy nature someone else would have done it or the Pharisees would have grabbed Jesus anyway. Judas wasn’t necessary for the story, he was just part of it because of the process.
Yes, I’ve thought about this stuff a lot. ‘Tis how I see it.
Have a great weekend Jim and all!
No comments yet.